Pre-read: I told myself I wasn't going to read any of Evans' "Real" series because of issues, but I might try one book of hers on my own to see if at all her narration or anything with respect to her writing/plotting has improved.
We'll see. I'm not going into this with high expectations though.
Post read: So even with not going into this with high expectations, I was still very disappointed. Poor writing, juvenile presentation, threadbare characters, plodding pacing, predictable plot, and manipulative cliffhanger ending.
I can honestly say I didn't enjoy this at all.
This may be a quicker review to write than the time it took me to get through this book. I will at least give the book credit for having a decent audio narrator with Grace Grant. I've read a few audio narrations with Grant as the lead voice. She's fair with this performance; her narration did insert some signs of life into the narrative that I wouldn't have gotten if I'd read the print version. She's the only reason I'm giving this book even a fraction of a star.
Honestly, I don't understand the hype around Katy Evans's writing at all. Nothing about this was steamy or sexy to me. Nothing about it was even really worth writing home about. It's incredibly juvenile and everything about this book was just horrifically rambled and bland, leaving the experience for me an empty read.
The book isn't necessarily bad as far as the premise is concerned. If anything, probably the only thing that could be bad about the premise "in theory" is that it's predictable. A woman (Rachel Livingston) is asked to write an expose on a public figure (Malcolm Saint) who's considered to be a "manwhore" for her publication. I knew in a sense that this story would be a matter of me waiting for the other shoe to drop, so I decided to go along for the ride.
But all I got out of this were two lifeless characters who really had little to no flesh to pinch from them, mounds of infodumps defining their beings, and predictable scenarios from point one. Yes, Rachel shows up in unconventional clothing (she comes from a volunteer experience in paint covered overalls to meet with him in a very well-to-do business office) meeting Saint for a potential meeting to hook up with him, but really the only two things that are tying these two together are that they're unconventional for what they're used to. Saint's attracted to Rachel because she's the first woman that's not falling at his feet and having sex with him (except when she does) and Rachel's only attracted to him because "OMG, he's so hot - I can't stop thinking about his abs/muscles/insert body part here!" I can understand if some of that is part of the dialogue, but not when it's constantly repeated and nothing else is given to bring the appeal of either Saint or even Rachel's attraction to the other.
Where the heck were their personalities beyond the blushing girl and brooding, private businessman who had multiple "floozies" (and man, don't even get me started for how many times this word was used, or even the obvious slut shaming that came with this narrative, because you know every other woman is useless in the relationship with Saint except for the heroine - and that every other woman is the enemy including a co-worker that Rachel works with at her magazine)? I feel like this book was trying to convince me these characters were developed, but failed miserably. The bulk of this information was told, not shown. Despite the proposed sensual scenes and "hot" sex - there was no true intimacy here. No intimacy for the characters, no intimacy to the situations, just surface details and hyperbolic comparisons that were mostly in Rachel's head and presumptuous for the situation. I don't care how old Rachel is supposed to be, even with her naivete, the presentation of this was just too juvenile to work. Just because you have a juvenile character doesn't mean that the presentation should be lacking or completely absent for development.
The side characters aren't even interesting because they're simply used as background noise to justify doubts about the relationship coming together, between Gina's prejudiced justification of a previous relationship making Saint to be a bad deal (she doesn't know the dude and never really does through the narrative), and Saint's posse congratulating him on another potential conquest, another lay.
With that consideration, let's talk about how the title of this book is a completely misleading fabrication. You would think that with the title "Manwhore" this book might have something to offer as to what makes Saint the way he is and why he lives his lifestyle the way he does, maybe with Rachel observing his interactions and the way he changes from this to be with Rachel. But no, all we get are infodumps on his "tragic past" and his so called bad boy antics when really all we see of him is how he's different toward Rachel and her prejudiced assumptions over what he's doing when she's not with him. I felt cheated because it was no true coming to terms or showcase of change, just surface details, just as bad as the so called judgmental attitudes that surround Saint in the book in social media circles and beyond. And what good does that do? It doesn't develop the characters. It doesn't show them growing beyond perceptions. Heck, it doesn't even show how these two really came to bond with each other. It's empty, it's presumptuous, and honestly I'm a little more than fed up because I see this all too often in New Adult and erotic stories following the "bad boy billionaire trope."
The ending was the thing that made me really throw in the towel with this series, because it's really a non-ending. Nothing's resolved. You get to the point where the other shoe drops and there's some hint for a resolution, but then it's yanked out of your grasp just to lead into another book, to make you buy into another story, which it's hard to tell whether it'll really have another resolution or just drag out details just for the sake of promoting more drama between characters who are little more than surface cliches.
This reader is not going to be manipulated out of her time following what happens. Apart from the narration, I didn't like this at all, and it's not likely I'd pick up another one of Evans's works if the quality's just going to be like this.
Overall score: 1/5 stars.